The conditional fee arrangement more commonly known as ‘No Win, No Fee’ has become increasingly popular across the UK as access to Legal Aid has diminished.
However, you need to take care when entering into an agreement and ensure your understand all of the implications before signing on the dotted line.
In simple terms, it is a funding arrangement between solicitor and their client which will allow the solicitor to be paid for his/her services depending on the outcome of the case.
This facility enables people who may otherwise not be in a financial position to afford it, to still make personal claims. Typically, it is used to fight for personal injury claims and unfair dismissal, for example. For these reasons, this type of agreement is to be welcomed.
If you wish to make a claim, the solicitor will carefully consider the risks involved.
Should you lose the case, your solicitor will not be able to charge you their fees, but the defending party will be able to claim back all the costs incurred whilst defending themselves.
On that basis, a solicitor is only likely to accept a case that he/she feels that they have a good chance of winning.
If the outcome of the case results in you being the losing party, your solicitor will take out on your behalf a policy of legal expense insurance. This policy will pay for the other parties costs.
Hence ‘No Win, No Fee’.
A Cautionary Note Regarding the Legal Expense Insurance
As with all insurance policies, the underwriters will have included all the necessary clauses to protect themselves from fraudulent claims.
In particular, should there later be found that you have deliberately withheld information that would have indicated to the solicitor and underwriters that you had a less than 50% chance of winning the case, your insurance could become null and void.
A good claims solicitor will always be very thorough in studying the case prior to accepting it and will also be very happy to explain the terms of the policy.
It Isn’t Called ‘Win, No Fee’!
Should you be the winning party, then you have to accept that a percentage of the monies allocated will include the fees for your solicitors time and any related expenses they will have incurred such as professional surveyors costs.
It is also possible that the solicitor that you have chosen is also eligible for a Success Fee.
Solicitors can take up to 25% from you. You need to be careful and sure of what you sign, as once it is signed the contract is binding and you cannot go back.
If you have a cavity wall claim and the total cost of removal repair and redecoration comes to say £12,000, if from the outset you have agreed the solicitor can take a success fee of 25% the solicitor can come back for £3000.
It doesn’t matter that the £12,000 has been accounted for in the cost of building and decoration works as you are still liable for it.
As with all trades that you may wish to hire, solicitors are no different. Shop around!
Should you want advice or feedback on a particular Law Firm, please do not hesitate in contacting us HERE
Further reading and examples of issues with ‘No Win, No Fee’ can be found on the following link to the Legal Ombudsman
Before entering into a contract it is important to seek independent legal advice